US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Burma, becoming the first senior US official in more than 50 years to visit the country.
During the landmark visit, Mrs Clinton is scheduled to hold a meeting lasting several hours with Burma's president Thein Sein. She is also due to fly to Rangoon for her first meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel-prize winning democracy movement leader she has described as "an inspiration".
Speaking to reporters before her arrival, Clinton said,
"I am obviously looking to determine ... what is the intention of the current government with respect to continuing reforms.
We and many other nations are quite hopeful that these flickers of progress ... will be ignited into a movement for change that will benefit the people of the country."
The Kachin Independence Organisation, one of the largest armed ethnic opposition groups in Burma, welcomed the Secretary of State’s visit commenting,
"US can make Burma change towards democracy. The conflict has become serious and the need to solve it is urgent."
Some minorities have expressed fears that the visit could be exploited as legitimising the government, which was slowly began implementing reforms.
Alan Saw U, a community organiser from the Karen ethnic group in Rangoon, said he hoped Clinton would "focus on democratisation. We don't want her visit to be ... abused by the ruling authorities."
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) warned that there were plans underway by the government, to sell areas of strategic importance to national security in the North-East to “pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” groups in the Tamil diaspora for US$450 million.
The General Secretary of the organisation,
The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) spokesperson, in an interview with Ceylon Today, said that the organisation had always stood for a political settlement for the Tamil national question and stressed that self-determination is a fundamental right for all communities.
Calling on Tamils to vote for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the upcoming parliamentary elections,
The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara, said the new party launched by the Buddhist group would contest the general election with the main objective of representing the Sinhala community.
The United National Party (UNP) reiterated that it would not allow an international war crimes inquiry to investigate former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and former army chief Sarath Fonseka.